SPOTLIGHT February 2020: Sara Zandieh, Filmmaker, A SIMPLE WEDDING

As Hollywood moves to course correct in wake of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, Iranian-American director Sara Zandieh checks off a lot of requisite boxes, especially the one marked: TALENTED. After changing her career from journalism to writing and directing narrative films, each of her stepping stones has been a milestone.

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SPOTLIGHT January 2020: Ava Duvernay, Filmmaker and Cinema Crusader

It’s hard to think of a more galvanizing, charismatic woman in film than Ava DuVernay. The 47-year-old producer, director, writer, distributor, and crusader for social justice has broken through boundaries and expanded professional and personal possibilities for women — especially women of color — working in film, and everywhere else. DuVernay has our greatest respect for her artistry, her dedication to freedom and equality for all people, and her innovative leadership by example.

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SPOTLIGHT December 2019: Leslie Iwerks, Filmmaker, THE IMAGINEERING STORY

Leslie Iwerks is either Disney royalty, or a Disney brat, depending on whether you’re talking to fans or the director herself. She’s the grand-daughter of animator and inventor Ub Iwerks, one of Walt Disney’s oldest friends, creator of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, and co-creator with Disney of Mickey Mouse. She is the daughter of technical innovator, lifetime Oscar Award winner, and Disney Legend Don Iwerks. As documentary director/producer, she has a distinguished career in film and an Oscar nominee for her work on The Pixar Story.

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SPOTLIGHT November 2019: Jen and Sylvia Soska, Canadian Twin Filmmakers, RABID

For far too long, women horror film directors have been considered an oddity. Key figures in the contemporary ‘women in horror’ movement, Canadian filmmaking twins Jen and Sylvia Soska established themselves as noteworthy directors and screenwriters with their 2009 debut feature Dead Hooker in a Trunk. The film’s cult status has changed the horror genre landscape and perceptions about female horror directors. The Soska effect continues with this year’s Rabid.

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SPOTLIGHT October 2019: Issa Lopez, Filmmaker, TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID

Writer/director Issa López is an exciting new voice in genre film, although she’s been a successful figure in the Mexican film industry since the early part of the 21st century. Her aesthetic is anchored in a blend of magical realism and the grittiness and stark reality of the real world, all seen from a horror-drenched version of the female gaze. She found success early in her career writing rom-coms and comedies that broke box office records, but left that all behind to focus on creating genre films true to her own creative inclinations, most recently resulting in the brilliant Tigers Are Not Afraid.

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SPOTLIGHT May 2019: Margarethe von Trotta, Director, Actress, Leading Force of the New German Cinema

After 50 years of fearless determination as a director working largely in the German film industry, Margarethe von Trotta is set to receive a lifetime achievement honor on May 3 at the 2019 German Film Awards in Berlin. Announcing the decision to recognize her, German Film Academy president Ulrich Matthes said, “In a time when women were rarely allowed to direct, Margarethe von Trotta said, ‘I can do that! In all these years she’s given us some of the most intense female figures in German cinema.”

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Variety Names Shauna Hardy Mishaw Among Top Women Influencers – Jennifer Merin reports

It comes as no surprise to the Alliance of Women Film Journalists that Shauna Hardy Mishaw, co-founder and Executive Director of Canada’s Whistler Film Festival, has been named in Variety’s International Women’s Impact Report as one of the top women who are influencing and reshaping showbiz around the globe.

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SPOTLIGHT January 2019: Karyn Kusama, Feminist Filmmaker, DESTROYER

A vocal advocate for women filmmakers, Kusama has consistently spoken passionately about the importance of diversity in the film industry. The success of Destroyer will no doubt continue to raise the visibility of the platform from which Kusama speaks, not only as an artist, but as a woman whose voice has been stifled so many times by a male-dominated industry who in the past have been so shamefully dismissive of the important things she has to tell us and of her extraordinarily skillful and creative way of telling them.

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SPOTLIGHT October 2018: Shauna Hardy Mishaw, Executive Director Whistler Film Festival

Shauna Hardy Mishaw is a movie mogul who neither produces nor directs movies. Nor does she write, work crew or appear in them. Her extraordinary industry impact comes from her work as Executive Director of Canada’s Whistler Film Festival, where she has consistently opened the doors of opportunity for emerging cinema artists, especially women.

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SPOTLIGHT July 2018: Jennifer Fox, Autobiographical Feminist Filmmaker, THE TALE

awfj spotlight black littleThere are many terms that one could apply to Jennifer Fox—courageous, determined, questioning—but the one she prefers is curious. Fox, whose breathtaking first feature, The Tale, dives into her own history of child sexual abuse, has let her curious nature lead her all over the world to find stories that illuminate both the particular and the universal. Continue reading…

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